Take a look at...briefings close to health's heart


Take a look at...briefings close to health's heart

van Delden
Overwork, burnout, stress
Over 170 documents were released by the Government today, making for plenty of reading for those interested in the current state and intentions of government departments

ACC books are in good shape, according to the corporation’s briefing to incoming ACC minister Iain Lees-Galloway.

The briefing papers were made available today by the Government as part of a release of over 170 briefing papers and documents. 

The corporation ended the year to 30 June 2017 with a $607 million surplus and $37 billion worth of assets and investments.

But the briefing paper notes ACC needs $37.7 billion in its coffers to cover the lifetime cash cost of supporting people who are already injured.

Mr Lees-Galloway also received a briefing about ACC from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), which has responsibility for the scheme’s legislative framework and broader direction.

But he may have noticed the two ministries quoting different figures for the number of new claims in 2016/17, with MBIE quoting 1,782,841 new claims and ACC referring to 1,946,368.

But he may have noticed the two ministries quoting different figures for the number of new claims in 2016/17, with MBIE quoting 1,782,841 new claims and ACC referring to 1,946,368

MBIE notes that, from 2012 to 2016, the number of new claims has increased at a slightly faster pace than population growth. Claims involving entitlements as well as treatment are also on the rise.

The corporation pointed out 1,041,814 ACC clients sought GP services in 2016/17.

MBIE redacted some of the points it shared with the minister, which were titled “Things to be aware of”.

The full briefing document can be read here

Blood service faces volatility

Over 29,000 New Zealanders require treatment with blood products each year but only 110,000 people are donors. The New Zealand Blood Service estimates it needs another 20,000 new donors in the next 12 months.

According to the briefing paper, the service operates in an environment of falling and volatile demand for fresh and manufactured blood products.

For instance, clinical use of red cell components has reduced significantly, with transfusion rates falling by over 25 per cent in the last decade as clinicians respond to increasing evidence that a restricted approach to transfusion after surgery setting leads to at least as good patient outcomes.

At the same time use of fractionated plasma-based immunoglobulin product Intram P has increased an average 6.2 per cent over the last 8 years, slowing dramatically to least then 2 per cent in recent years.

The New Zealand Blood Service is operating at a budgeted deficit of $1.86 million and over the four years to 30 June 2021 is forecasting a cumulative deficit of $2.53 million. The blood service, the only provider of blood and blood products in New Zealand, has an annual budget of $120.3 million.

The service needs significant invest in infrastructure and IT on the back of only model price increases to DHBs in recent years.

Increase in complaints to HDC

There was a 31 per cent increase in complaints to the Health and Disability Commissioner in the first four months of this year compared with the same time last year. This was in the face of an anticipated growth of only 5-10 per cent, which would have been in keeping with a steady increase over recent years.

No obvious reason was found for the larger-than-expected increase, but a number of factors are offered up: increasing public profile of the HDC, easier access to the complaints process, more awareness among the public of their right and increased health service activity.

“Our separation from a funding and monitoring function is important for our position as a trusted ally to the sector and an independent advisor to you.” In its briefing notes to the minister, the Health Quality & Safety Commission is adamant its independent status enables DHBs and other providers to talk openly about their problems with the commission, and would not want to see this changed.